Electric hookahs no safer than traditional charcoal-based ones: Study

Updated:4 weeks, 1 day ago IST

New Delhi, May 26 (ANI): Electric hookahs are just as harmful has traditional charcoal-based ones, a recent study suggests. In traditional hookahs, smokers burn charcoal on top of a tobacco preparation known as ma'ssel, a mixture of tobacco, glycerin, water, and flavourings. The resulting smoke bubbles through the water at the bottom of the pipe before being inhaled through a tube by the smoker. Findings of the study were published in the Journal of Chemical Research in Toxicology. Previous studies have shown that charcoal contributes most of the harmful polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and carbon monoxide found in hookah smoke. Therefore, manufacturers have developed EHEs for hookahs, in some cases advertising them as "toxicant-free" or "carbon monoxide-free." A team of researchers at the American University of Beirut wanted to investigate these claims by comparing the emissions of several major toxicants from waterpipes using EHEs or charcoal. They found that the EHEs reduced carbon monoxide and PAH emissions by 90 per cent and 80 per cent, respectively. However, emissions of acrolein, a highly reactive irritant thought to be responsible for nearly all non-cancer respiratory diseases in cigarette smokers, was several orders of magnitude higher with EHE use, compared with charcoal use.

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